That Alonso V10 Renault run--a comparison to today's F1
dieseldub last edited by
Making the rounds on the internet yesterday was Alonso's demonstration run in his first championship-winning car, the 2005 Renault R25. 2005 being the last year of the howling 3.0L V10s that were pushing up hard on 1000 hp output just before F1 changed the rules for 2.4L V8s for 2006.
Orlove's Jalopnik article caught my eye as he went on to state how the car still "looks fast."
Well, Raph's eyes weren't deceiving him. I had made a couple replies to the article arguing that with the slicks it has on it, and given the time to properly adapt the car to the very different tires to what it originally was designed to use, it ought to be right on pace with the current V6 cars. I base this mostly on recognizing that the V10 lap records only began to fall around 2018-9, which is right after FIA went ahead and did a massive revamp of the chassis rules. They gave the cars bigger tires, wings and width. Biggest they've been since the 1997 season. The 2016 cars with the smaller wings, tires more closely sized to V10 era cars--but slicks instead of grooved--they were slower.
I criticized the rules change for 2017 back then because the entire reason they went back to slicks and also reduced aero grip at the same time starting in 2009 was because they wanted to make it a little easier for cars to follow one another without so much aero disruption. Giving the cars more downforce makes them more aero dependent and also creates a larger wake behind the car that does exactly that--disrupts the following cars' aerodynamics. It seemed counterproductive to their original goal of trying to make overtaking easier and have closer racing in general. Though I didn't mind the added width and additional mechanical grip of the fatter tires. They could have done just that and left them with smaller wings--that would have put on a good show.
Anyway, now that we've gone over a very generalized overview of how F1's rules have changed, let's take a look at some numbers. First, an unofficial laptime of the R25 Renault on the Pirelli slicks instead of its original grooved Michelins:
Alonso's lap time, in a demonstration run in a car with very little time to get properly setup for the tires its using and minimal time for Alonso to get reacclimated to his old car on tires unfamiliar in combination with his old car still wound up within a second of last year's race fastest lap.
Now, obviously modern F1 cars' race fastest lap is easily 2-3 seconds slower than what they do in qualifying. But you know what? In qualifying, they get the cars' batteries charged to do exactly one lap with max electric assist, and they're able to use DRS at any point on the track in qualifying, unlike in the race.
You either take away the modern cars' DRS advantage, or equip the old F1 car with it, they would be very close on pace, and in a race my money might be on the old V10 still.
The V10 doesn't have a large enough fuel tank to go an entire race distance. It would have to stop for fuel during the race. It makes pit stops take an extra couple seconds, but the pace on the track is substantially higher, especially when compared to what the current V6 does with a full fuel load early in the race.
There's also the fact that that V10 is giving you all 1000 hp in every gear, where the V6 can only approach that level of output while using the KERS assist.
Some additional numbers to ponder. First, one must consider that most of the tracks F1 raced at in 2005 vs today are either not on the calendar or have been modified.
The only track that's really the same vs. this current weird season would be Monza. If we include 2019, we could also dig up Suzuka, Monaco and Brazil for comparison, but most other tracks have actually changed to the point of not being a fair comparison. This includes Spa (Bus Stop was reconfigured sometime after 2005) and Barcelona. Imola, which we didn't expect to be on the 2020 calendar, was revised sometime in 2007 as well.
But, for a 2020 car comparison to 2005, Monza is really the best we have.
In 2005, Juan Pablo Montoya driving for McLaren-Mercedes set a pole lap of 1:21.054. The year before, Montoya (then at Williams-BMW) did a 1:19.525 in Q1 (but didn't get the pole since he went slower in Q2).
This year's pole lap by Hamilton was 1:18.887. So yeah, the old V10s really aren't that far off. And if you get one setup to run on 2016 slicks that aren't even as wide as today's cars, they might be just about on par. Assuming that the Pirelli slicks provide a little more grip than the original grooved tires from 2004-5.
It's also good to note on the technical side of things, the old F1 cars in the mid 2000s had a minimum weight of around 1350 lbs INCLUDING driver. Today's cars are about 1650 lbs including driver.
Older cars definitely have a weight advantage, don't have to carry as much fuel since they did in-race refueling back then, and if you get them properly designed and setup to use slicks instead of the old grooved tires, their qualifying pace is likely to be on par with today's cars. If you give them the additional width and wider still tires of today's cars, they're almost certain to be faster.
I'll leave you with some glorious outside video of Alonso's run. At the end of the V10 era, we didn't have HDTV broadcasts for F1 yet... So seeing and hearing an old V10 being driven in anger by a world champion in HD is pretty awesome. And it brings back memories, as I did see them race in person at the USGP at Indianapolis 2003-2007 (2006-7 were the first of the V8 years).
TheJWT last edited by
Hearing the sound of that V10 reminded me why I fell I love with F1 back then
pip bip last edited by
@dieseldub Albert Park here in Melbourne hasn't changed either.
dieseldub last edited by
@pip-bip true, didn't run it this year for a comparison to today's cars, of course they're only a little faster than last year... but yeah.
ttyymmnn last edited by ttyymmnn
@dieseldub God I miss that sound. When F1 first came to COTA, I was at KAUS photographing the international traffic. From 4.5 miles away as the crow flies you could hear the cars on the track.
dieseldub last edited by dieseldub
@ttyymmnn I have a friend who lives in Speedway, IN. Back then he was under a mile from the track.
Mid 2000s they still had a Sunday morning practice and didn't yet have the engine limit for the season, so no locking cars up overnight in 'parc ferme'.
We'd wake up at about 7 in the morning, raceday, to the sound of those V10s wailing around Indy. It was glorious.
Our group was a bunch of IRC internet needs who met online. We had a Canadian, Lee from Utah, myself from Michigan and two "Dutchies" (Jeroen and Michel) who went to both the Canadian GP the week before and the USGP.
I can clearly recall hearing at least 4 distinct languages being spoken when leaving the track. Also, the Colombian fans for Montoya were strong in number and very vocal, numerous Colombian flags flying.
Really was a special experience those few years in the mid 2000s.
Otto last edited by
@dieseldub I get tingles and the hair stands up on the back of my neck when hearing these cars.